Researchers develop new way to grow blood vessels

New York: Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a clay-based platform to deliver therapeutic proteins to the body to assist with the formation of blood vessels.

The formation of new blood vessels — a process also known as angiogenesis — is one of the major clinical challenges in wound healing and tissue implants.

The technology, detailed in the journal Advanced Biosystems, introduces a new type of two-dimensional clay — also known as nanosilicates — that delivers multiple specialised proteins called growth factors into the body to stimulate new blood vessel formation.

“Sustained and prolonged release of physiologically relevant doses of growth factors are important to avoid problems due to high doses, such as abrupt tissue formation,” said study co-author Akhilesh Gaharwar, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University in the US.

To allow blood vessels time to form, the clay is designed to prolong the release through its high surface area and charged characteristics, he added.

“Clay nanoparticles work like tiny weak magnets that hold the growth factors within the polymeric hydrogels and release very slowly,” Gaharwar said.

By establishing clay nanoparticles as a platform technology for delivering the growth factors, the research will have a significant impact on designing the next generation of bioactive scaffolds and implants, he added.